Wednesday, May 23, 2007

God Shows Up at Palmer Theological Seminary Graduation

Last Saturday I was in Philadelphia to be a part of Palmer Theological Seminary's graduation ceremony. It was my great privilege to "hood" the doctoral students whom I have been working with as Palmer's doctoral Project Director.

The speaker was Dr. Robin Smith. Robin has a Ph.D in psychology from Temple University. She's the "Dr. Robin" who regularly appears on "Oprah."

She began her message by telling all that God had given her a message for the day, and that it was not a typical graduation challenge. God told Robin to confront us all with our idolatry that would put anything ahead of God, to include a graduation "festival" like the one we were at. God doesn't care about our graduation robes and the amount of doctoral bars on our sleeves.

I think she preached for at least 45 minutes, maybe longer. I lost track of time, because, for me, when God shows up, it's an event-oriented thing rather than a time-oritented thing.

Robin asked for people to give their lives over to Jesus. She said, "Even if you are graduating today from seminary, if you have not given your life fully over to Jesus today is your day."

I estimate that 200 people came forward (out of, say, 1500 that were there). Many were touched. I and other had tears in our eyes. The pastor of Edon Tabernacle Church prayed "God, thank You for revealing our hypocrisy to us today."

I loved what God was doing in that place! After the "ceremony" one faculty member told me, "I thought it went on a little too long." I didn't say anything, but inwardly I was thinking "You have got to be kidding me! God was making a statement!"

I believe God was communicating something to Palmer Seminary, about what the whole "seminary" thing is supposed to be in the first place. Indeed, God was speaking to all American theological seminaries through Palmer that they must set aside any idolatry and return to God, who is a jealous God.